grandparent and grandchild with parent
Sarah Biren
Sarah Biren
March 26, 2024 ·  4 min read

Moms Slam ‘Boomer’ Grandparents For Not Respecting Boundaries

A mother on TikTok went viral for opening a discussion about grandparents and boundaries. It began with Lisa Pontius posting a video where she danced to “The Joke Is On You” by Niki Watkins with the captions: “Boomers raising us with ‘my house, my rules’.” Then: “Boomers being mad when we set boundaries as adults.” In other clips, Pontius says that her kids have relationships with all of their grandparents — but it was not a given. First, the grandparents had to respect certain boundaries.

Boomers raising us with ‘my house, my rules’

The mom-of-three explains the difference between “my house, my rules” and boundaries when it comes to child-rearing in another TikTok. The former ends any communication or negotiation, something crucial when creating boundaries. “Setting age-appropriate boundaries for your children is important, children need them,” Pontius says. Otherwise children don’t know how to behave properly, eat healthily, stay safe, and so on.

But setting boundaries involves teaching them the reason behind the rules and allows them to ask questions or negotiate if appropriate. She gives examples, such as, “No, you cannot do gymnastics right now because we have to leave in 10 minutes. How about later today?” or “No, you cannot jump on the couch because you can get really hurt.” 

Boundaries between parents and grandparents work in a similar way. Pontius encourages grandparents who want to be closer with their grandkids to work on their relationship with the parents — their child and especially their child-in-law. If grandparents don’t respect the parents and overstep boundaries, the parents are unlikely to feel comfortable entrusting them to their children. [1]

For example, grandparents may feed the grandkids food the parents don’t approve of. Others may show up unannounced or guilt the grandkids into spending time with them. Or the grandparents play with the kids a little too roughly, let the children ride without car seats, are lax about watching them when they’re at the park, or do other things that threaten the children’s safety.  A good clue that grandparents are breaching a boundary is when they have to tell the kids: “Don’t tell your parents about this.” It shows that the grandparents are aware of a boundary but they are choosing to cross it. 

Boundaries aren’t a threat”

As Pontius explains in another TikTok, “In normal circumstances, if you don’t have a good relationship with the parent, you’re not going to have access to the child. If I don’t feel like you respect me or my wishes or my way of doing things, I’m not going to trust you with the care of my child. That would be crazy.” She added that this doesn’t apply in situations where the parents are abusive and neglectful. “I was more talking about those of us with pushy in-laws.

However, many people get their backs up at the word “boundaries.” One person commented to Pontius that she couldn’t imagine being kept away from her grandkids. Pontius clarified that boundaries do not mean no contact. Boundaries are a two-way, ongoing discussion. She explains that her boomer parents respect her wishes and she respects their boundaries about when, how often, and how much they watch their grandchildren. (In other videos, she shares how she didn’t grow up in a healthy family dynamic and it took a lot of work and communication from all parties involved to have the relationship she has with her parents today.) [2]

Boundaries aren’t a threat. Boundaries isn’t a dirty word… Every relationship deserves boundaries.” But she adds that if a grandparent does get cut off, it might indicate that they didn’t respect the parents’ boundaries. 


Reply to @pootertoad boundaries is not a dirty word #boundaries #grandparents #parenting

♬ original sound – Lisa P

Examples of Breached Boundaries

There are many ways for grandparents to cross boundaries. For instance, some might feel that they have an equal say in the children’s life. Pontius theorizes that this occurs when boomer grandparents are used to being a charge and are unwilling to step away. Overbearing parents tend to become overbearing grandparents. But having conflicting authority figures can be confusing and destabilizing for children, and boundaries need to be created in this situation.

Another breach of boundaries comes with grandparents who give snide comments or passive aggressive remarks. It’s a way of being overbearing without actively being overbearing since the parents may feel tense as they await the next criticism. Meanwhile, other grandparents offer unsolicited advice, maybe without even realizing how much they are intruding with their opinions. Many difficult situations in these dynamics can be resolved with boundaries, but both parties need to be willing to communicate. Boundaries can deepen relationships, not break them, because they fosters trust, communication, and respect. [3]

Millennial Kids and Boomer Parents

In another video, Pontius talks about the generational divide in some parent-children relationships and why communication may be difficult. She explains that some millennials want to open up to their boomer parents about something painful from their upbringing, but the parents dismiss it instead of discussing it. They may insist that the incident never happened or say it could have been worse. It’s not easy to hear about personal wrongdoings but she encourages people to have the difficult conversation anyway. “True connection comes from true compassion.

Keep Reading: Mom Delivers Epic Rant After Forgetting to Pack Her Own Clothes on a Family Trip


  1. “Moms Are Calling Out “Boomer” Grandparents Who Overstep Their Boundaries And How Toxic The Whole Dynamic Is.” Buzzfeed. Krista Torres. June 28, 2022
  2. “This viral TikTok explains why it’s OK to set boundaries with your kids’ grandparents.Motherly. Diva Anwari.January 28, 2022
  3. “6 Challenging Grandparent Styles and How to Set Boundaries.” Parents. Katie Arnold-Ratliff. January 11, 2023